How to Optimize Hotel Labor Management for COVID-19 Recovery
By Mark Heymann Chairman & CEO, Unifocus | July 12, 2020
For hotels and restaurants, optimizing labor management processes has an entirely different meaning than it did in in the past. The previous formula revolved around maximizing productivity by ensuring the right number of employees working at the right times to provide high-quality service for your customers. There was significant data to predict business volumes and patterns, which were influenced by business demands, travel and events, seasonality, and location.
We all know that is no longer the case.
Frankly, uncertainty reigns amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The world of hotels and restaurants has become highly unpredictable and will remain that way for at least the next 6 -12 months. There are a series of new challenges – such as high levels of unemployment, lack of consumer confidence in traveling and eating in public settings, ramped up cleanliness requirements, strict occupancy restrictions, rehiring employees at reduced hours, catering to single-parent employees, lack of childcare resources and more. The list goes on.
An adjusted labor management approach will be vital to navigating new industry waters. As this environment is exceedingly tough to predict, more short-term staffing decisions will need to be made to maintain operational efficiency. While optimizing labor previously revolved around external variables, taking internal processes into account will now be of equal importance. Companies will need to foster positive experiences for both customers and employees alike to restore consistent levels of profitability down the road.
Overall, an enhanced focus on optimizing labor management to service levels, employee engagement, flexible scheduling and task-oriented positions will strengthen an organization's ability to make a complex pandemic recovery.
Staffing Related to Service Levels
Trying to grasp expected guest levels will be especially important during the early stages of the recovery period. Considering demand is the primary determinant for the number of employees needed on a given shift, restaurants and hotels should be more vigilant about monitoring evolving guest volume trends on a day-to-day, week-to-week and month-to-month basis. Peak service times may well change as people look to eat when restaurants are less populated.